Archive for Thursday, November 10, 2005

Living history unfolds at Vinland elementary

November 10, 2005

With the help of students from Kansas University, Vinland Elementary School students are working on projects about several senior citizens from the Vinland area.

"It's been an interesting experience," said Alica Thomas, VES reading specialist. "It takes them out of their own little box and give them a chance to learn about someone else's life."

Each Thursday the third, fourth and fifth grade students take time out of their morning to visit with their senior citizen.

The VES students interview their guest while looking at pictures or other special memorabilia.

"They are good with the kids, and the kids like them," VES Principal Bill Scott said. "They look forward to it. It's a give and take all the way. They work well together."

To finish the projects, the students will compose a bound biography of their subject. One copy of the biography will go to the guest and the students will keep one copy themselves. The presentations of the biographies will take place Nov. 17.

Scott said the decision about which people to write about, was easy for the school.

"Since we are pretty well tied into Vinland heritage and history, we thought we would use the people that had Vinland roots,' Scott said.

The projects are in collaboration with the University of Kansas' language arts and reading practicum program.

"KU called us and wondered if their students could work with our students in a small group setting," Scott said. "I thought it was a great idea. I was all for it."

The undergraduates have been visiting VES every Tuesday and Thursday for several weeks. Their time has been split between the senior citizens project and spending one-on-one time with each student.

"It's an opportunity for our students to get small group instruction and one-on-one work," Thomas said. "It's a little more challenging for us to give them that."

Scott feels the entire project will give the students a better understanding about the way life used to be.

"It's a history lesson," Scott. "These kids have no concept of plowing a field with horses, carrying grain, walking everywhere or having no television. It's a huge opportunity to experience a living history."

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